You may think that ‘smoking’ e-cigarettes is less dangerous for your health than lighting up the real thing, but a recently trending report from FOX 5 tells of a 23-year-old from Destin, Florida who ended up in a burn unit at the University of Alabama after an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth in late July.
The damage was substantial. James Lauria, who remains on a liquid diet more than six weeks after the explosion, was on a break at work when the electronic cigarette exploded.
The burst burned his cornea and hand, caused his neck and finger to fracture and it blew a hole through the palate of his mouth while sending flames that caused first-degree burns down his chest and up his face.
His front tooth was also jammed up into his gum, while others were chipped and damaged.
“E-cigarettes may be less harmful than cigarettes,” says Dr. Brad Drummond, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at John’s Hopkins University School of Medicine. “But we still don’t know enough about their long-term risks or the effects of secondhand exposure.”
Lauria spent a week in the UAB burn unit, and is now at home with his parents while he heals.
Using e-cigarettes, commonly known as ‘vaping,’ involves inhaling vapor from a stem enclosing a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge containing liquids, flavoring and nicotine.
Tests show the levels of dangerous chemicals e-cigs give off are a fraction of that from a real cigarette.
But are they safer in general? No firm answer on that one, yet.
According to an article on Cosmopolitan.com, FEMA has recorded more than 25 incidents of e-cigarette explosions and fires in the U.S. between 2009 and 2014.